I am not a salesperson by nature. I know people who are good at it, but I have never liked selling and therefore don’t have a knack for it. And maybe it’s because I don’t like aggressive tactics when I can usually make up my own mind, thank you, that I end up having a bit of distaste for pushy salespeople in general.
Which is not fair, I know. We’re all trying to make a buck. And boy do I know what it’s like to be FORCED to sell stuff a certain way. When I was in high school I worked at a shoe store. Being what I considered a good reader of body language, I hung back when I could tell the customers were just looking. I’d smile at them as they came in, so they knew I was there and then I’d just make myself available as they needed. I actually had a couple of customers tell me that they really appreciated how I worked. One woman even told my manager! I must have been employee of the month, right? They must have given me a raise to six bucks an hour in recognition of my efforts! WRONG. After a grand total of ten weeks on the job, my manager fired me for “being too quiet”. Was I ever MIFFED. I had sold just as much as everyone else.
So back to present day. This afternoon I was with my daughter at the mall and my window-of-stroller-contentedness was closing fast. When she started to express her displeasure, I gave her a rice cake. When she became more insistent that sitting still for over an hour was NOT one of the activities she had planned for her day, I picked her up. I put her BACK in her stroller when my arm started to burn. That’s when my baby started having a fit. She rarely spazzes, but today she was seriously annoyed with her circumstances. She started making lots of noise. Pissed off noises, as if to say “Listen MOTHER. This is NOT FUN. I will NOT TAKE THIS ANYMORE. Can’t you understand WHAT I’M SAYING? HELLOOOO? See how far I launched that rice cake? Take that! So help me, I will throw a tantrum like that toddler over there if you don’t PICK ME UP AND ENTERTAIN ME OTHERWISE.”
Any parent knows there’s only so much you can ignore before your irritated child starts totally stressing you out. I walked faster, towards the exit. I had taken advantage of her good nature for longer than I knew smart and I was paying for it. If I could just get OUT OF THE MALL she might calm down in the fresh air. I hightailed it down the last, long corridor in the direction of the main entrance, weaving in and out of leisurely shoppers. That particular corridor has several kiosks down the middle for small merchants. There is always one employee standing beside each kiosk, facing the passerby in an attempt to generate attention to their display. One saleswoman, seeing my frenzied approach, smiled at me from a few feet away, and, stepping into my path, pointed to her booth and said, “Could I interest you in sampling one of our moisturizers?”
What was WRONG with that woman? Didn’t my narrowed gaze, grim face and determined gait convey ANYTHING AT ALL? NO. I DO NOT want to sample your products. I have a CRYING BABY who is throwing ALL HER TOYS OUT OF HER STROLLER in protest. She is arching her back and kicking her feet against the frame and SHE NEEDS TO GET OUT OF HERE. Do I LOOK like the ideal person for whom you should be giving your spiel?
I shook my head tersely as my daughter continued to complain and blew past the offending woman.
Bad choice, Ms. Saleslady, bad choice. Now I’ll likely NEVER buy something from you.